This year at Anime Expo 2023, Manga Mavericks writer Varun Gupta had the opportunity to talk with actor Eiji Akaso. Akaso has starred in numerous television and film productions, including Cherry Magic!, Kamen Rider Build, and Love Me, Love Me Not. Akaso plays the lead role of Akira Tendo in Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Zom 100: Bucket List of the Dead.

Check out our full interview with Akaso down below:

Manga Mavericks: Were you familiar with the Zom 100 manga before being cast as Akira? 

Akaso: So actually, I knew about Zom 100. My brother told me about it, and recommend that I should read it, saying that it’s a new funny zombie comedy.

Manga Mavericks: You talked with artist Kotaro Takata at the recent Netflix panel at Anime Expo, but have you had the chance to talk to the writer Haro Aso?

Akaso: Yes, I had the pleasure to meet him too, and he shared the story of how Zom 100 was created. The first time I met him was actually on the film set, and maybe a few hours later, they were actually becoming a zombie too.

Manga Mavericks: So Aso-sensei was a zombie in the film?

Akaso: That’s right.

Manga Mavericks: Wow, amazing!

Manga Mavericks: I think one of the biggest appeals of Zom 100 is Akira himself. What do you think makes Akira such a compelling protagonist for a zombie apocalypse movie?

Akaso: The beauty of Akira is how he interprets things. So you just woke up in the morning and see a city filled with zombies. Usually, people would get pessimistic or sad, but he on the other hand became very positive and goal-driven. That is the biggest charm of Akira and what separates him from other people because he is so positive in this zombie world.

Manga Mavericks: Tying into that, Zom 100 has a lot of comedic moments but it also has a lot of tragedy and violence, especially a lot of people getting turned into zombies. How do you balance performing those more serious scenes while also being able to convey the comedy in the movie?

Akaso: So the funny thing is that everyone thinks this is a zombie comedy, but all the actors and actresses, including myself, don’t think this is a comedy. Maybe this is the biggest difference in how you take it as a movie. For example, we did a stay-at-home barbeque on top of a building, and you may think it’s a silly scene, but we are doing it very seriously. So, that creates the very interesting situation where it could be interpreted as a comedy but also could be interpreted as very serious because we are acting very seriously.

Manga Mavericks: You’ve done a lot of work throughout your career, so I was wondering if any of your previous roles helped you prepare for Akira. For instance, Akira is very much like a superhero in terms of mentality, and you’ve done hero roles in works such as Kamen Rider Build, so have any of those helped you?

Akaso: Yes, I was acting in a main role as an action hero in Kamen Rider. In the series, I often fought against monsters, so that helped me prepare for the role of Akira. It also helped me visualize and be creative. I can fight in my imagination for the action scenes, so it helped me a lot.

What do you hope overseas fans take away from this film and your performance as Akira?

Akaso: To simply put it, life is short and we aren’t getting any younger, so just pursue your passion and do what you want to do.

Awesome, I’m looking forward to many people seeing this movie and thank you for all your hard work!

Akaso: Thank you!


About The Author Varun Gupta

Varun Gupta is a BI Engineer that works in the entertainment industry. Throughout his entire life, Varun has had an immense love of animation and comics. An obsessive manga collector, he spends his free time attempting to read through his massive backlog of series, hoping to one day finish them all. Will he succeed in his perilous quest? Probably not, but at least he’s having fun doing it!

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